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A Firefox for music?

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Lord's new five-person company, the ambitiously named Pioneers of the Inevitable, is building a piece of digital-music software called "Songbird," based on much of the same underlying open-source technology as the Firefox Web browser.

With their first technical preview expected early next year, the programmers want to create music-playing software that will work naturally with the growing number of music sites and services on the Web, instead of being focused on songs on a computer's hard drive. That's where iTunes, which plugs only into Apple's own music store, falls short, Lord argues.

Apple's iTunes is "like Internet Explorer, if Internet Explorer could only browse," Lord said. "We love Apple, and appreciate and thank them for setting the bar in terms of user experience. But it's inevitable that the market architecture changes as it matures."

An Apple representative declined to comment.

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no Apple if no Microsoft

Internet Explorer is a crappy browser because of its lack of innovation, the 5 years behind it is in capabilities, and its terrible security record. The closed system model is not a bad idea if it is done right. If Microsoft products actually worked we would not have an Apple.

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